“…has become a mechanism special interests use”

Seattle PI

Reed, the secretary of state, said he's noticed another shift in how initiatives are used, and not just by citizens.

"Historically, they were kind of a safety valve for the public," Reed said.

"If a special interest blocked important legislation that people really cared about, they were able to go directly to the people through the initiative process just by the grass roots."

These days, the tables seem to have turned, he said.

"The irony now is, this mechanism set up to try to bypass the special interests has become a mechanism special interests use," Reed said.

"Many of them are issues that are pretty narrow, that one group cares passionately about, and they are willing to put a lot of money in. That's the way it is now with paid signature-gathering and paid advertising."

Only special interests have the money to get on the ballot. The more roadblocks we put up in front of regular people in the initiative process, the more special interests will be the only ones able to use it.

In Pierce County they're talking about making it easier for regular folks to use the local intitiative and referendum process.


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